August 2nd, 2011 10:26 EST
The Real Qualifications to Be a Good Fighter Pilot?
While I do appreciate the words of Waldo Waldman on your site, `Waldo Waldman, your wingman chats with Judyth Piazza` quite personally, I find most of his words all BS. He is a USAF academy graduate and he is speaking mostly from an USAF grad and not from the mouth of many fighter pilots who never went to the Academy-like many I have known-from WWI, Korea, VN, etc.
The real qualifications to be a good fighter pilot is first and foremost to be a kid who street raced cars. (That is why all good fighter pilots have performance sports cars like Corvettes, etc-those episodes sharpen up their skills.) Plus those who have video games in the air combat ethic. The basic qualms are to be in real good health, have no cardiovascular problems, good eyesight, and be highly competitive. One must have pristine skills and be able to not be in fear of any competitor flying any MIG or Sukhoi. They must always be ready to disobey dumb brain orders from dummy superior officers-mostly idiots who never flew a Piper Cub!
A true fighter pilot, like Robbie Reisner-with his good F86- always must be ready to try something new beyond the parameters of ASAF or NAVY regulars. They first and foremost are able to think for themselves-the upper brass notwithstanding. Of course, their eye always must be on their 6, but they also must always be ready to do the unconventional-like screw the classroom BS in tactics-do whatever you must to survive!! And, that ethic does not come from any Academy education-in the air anything goes!!! Just like Robbie put his F86 nose up under the ass of Logan`s F86 and powered him up until they got sea bound so the Navy (notice I said NAVY) could try to pick his wingman up on bailing out. Too bad the dumb Navy freaks tried to blow Logan up to shore and pick him up and he got strangled in his own chute strings. Well, they did what they thought best to save Logan!
A most important thing is to know your enemy`s best strategy. You never want to fight his war-but, you want to best him in whatever way you can-no matter what--even if it means leaving your wingman!! Now, that is a verboten thing to do as you may need him for backup, but when you do, hopefully he will see that need and come around and back you up if he can. If not, every man for himself! The important thing is to get your enemy in any way you can!
Now, what I say here about an enemy is formulated primarily in knowing your opponents aircraft-its capabilities, its strengths and weaknesses, its stall parameters, its failings in any stage of the game. And, be sure, he will know yours!! But, in air combat, it is often who sees who first, who can get on who first, who can outturn who first and who can take advantage of the existing air conditions and bring them into their best advantage-like going right down on the hard deck (excuse my USN terminology)-but, air shear is a very significant thing when someone is on your 6 and you really need to get him off. I mean, crap, if he is right on your 6-what the heck! He will get you anyway, so why not run him down into the hard deck and take him with you! On the other hand, if his airframe will not stand a real upward thrust, he will pass right by you and hit the hard deck. A smoking hole in the ground!
Beyond that, it mostly is luck vs. luck! The pilot`s skill, the circumstances, who had the least fuel load for wt considerations. who reacts first, who has the most thrust-on normal or afterburner, whose engines were most recently overhauled, who has minimal metal fatigue in dire maneuvers to preclude aluminum fracture, who has the best maneuvering position, AND, whose wingman is already on your ass to back up the one whom you will out maneuver!
Most always, everything is primarily left to chance no matter how well anyone`s` airframe, aviationics, and thrust is. It is always, given the assumption that all pilots are well trained, just up to the Lord in the long and short run of it all. All fighter pilots are no more than horse jockeys after all is said and done. They just ride the best horse they can, and fate will set the rest of the tracks performance.
For a short time I was an USN F4 pilot. I always thought that plane to be a real piece of shit. Although it set climbing records in its day-runway to 50K ft in 7 minutes-, the smoking SOB with its dual GE J76`s was still a real dog. Any MIG could see it from 100 miles away-while the Mig 19 and 21 were smokeless. We never knew they were-and they had GUNS and canon! We only had undependable AIM 7`s and loser Sparrows-never knew when they would work or not! But, when F4`s were shipped Israel, the Jews, not being stupid like the USN and USAF, put guns on them immediately!!! 20mm canon and maybe some `50 cals incendiary! That equipped the F4`s right and ready to take on any MIGs and Sukhois!
OK, enough said for tonight. If you want to know much more about US fighter aircraft-let me know and I can tell you about my 8th grade English teacher who flew P47 in WW II and then the great P51 in the RIANG!!! Plus my father`s experiences in WWII in the USN!
In the meantime straighten out that USAF grad in his F16- real good General Dynamics plane-the hot rosd of the sky-that the best USAF and NAVY fighter pilots never graduated from any academy!
Fred Hone, Exeter, RI